On Dec. 6 and 7, The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts hosts jazz percussionist and composer Gregg Bendian for a workshop and concert featuring the CalArts Percussion Ensemble.
Bendian, who plays the drums, vibraphone, glockenspiel, among other percussive instruments, records under his own name and various groups including Interzone and the 12-piece, Rolling Stone-reviewed Mahavishnu Project (MP), which he formed in 2001 to continue the technically demanding music of the jazz/rock/Indian fusion group, The Mahavishnu Orchestra.
From a 2009 profile of Bendian and Mahavishnu Project in All About Jazz:
Bendian says his fascination with the repertoire of [John] McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra is no different than jazz musicians today playing the music of Miles, Monk and Coltrane. “The Mahavishnu music, the electric Miles stuff and Tony Williams Lifetime along with Weather Report and Return To Forever…this is the music that spoke to my generation first and that got us interested in jazz. I’m sorry if Lincoln Center or Ken Burns don’t come out and embrace this stuff as part of the whole continuum, but it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be played and we shouldn’t take it seriously. Certainly, no one can discount the importance of Kind of Blue. Similarly, can anyone discount the importance of Bitches Brew or Inner Mounting Flame or Birds of Fire? I don’t think so.”
Often incorporating elements of fusion and free jazz in to his music, he has also worked with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Nels Cline, Pat Metheny, Derek Bailey, Todd Rundgren and many others.
On Dec. 6, Bendian takes part in a workshop in room A300 at CalArts as part of the Percussion Workshop class from 2-3 pm; the following day, Bendian performs solo works and a duo with faculty percussionist David Johnson in a concert at Roy O. Disney Music Hall. The Percussion Ensemble is set to premiere Bendian’s marimba quartet Sequoya: The Talking Leaves and Johnson’s Quartz City for vibraphone soloist and percussion quintet (with Johnson as the soloist).
Above is a track by Bendian—Primordial Ink—off of Interzone’s Requiem for Jack Kirby. The video below is the Dawn/Awakening Medley from the Mahavishnu Project.
Percussion Workshop with Guest Artist Gregg Bendian
Room A300, CalArts
Dec. 6, 2 pm
Percussion Ensemble Concert with Guest Artist Gregg Bendian
Roy O. Disney Music Hall, CalArts
Dec. 7, 8 pm